E. Marvin Slaughter Jr.
AB, East Carolina Teachers College, 1950
Luther M. Taylor
AB, East Carolina College, 1957
Through the generosity of Luther M. Taylor of the class of 1957 and E. Marvin Slaughter Jr. of the class of 1950, East Carolina University was able to acquire the property located at 901 East Fifth Street, which originally belonged to Paul and Rose H. Fitzgerald. On August 28, 1944, Mrs. Helen Forbes White Hawes bought the property from the Fitzgeralds and had a house built in 1955 by Roy G. Smith, a local building contractor. Mrs. Hawes lived in the house until her death on January 18, 1979.
Mr. Taylor and Mr. Slaughter, East Carolina alumni, had served on the University's board of trustees and had exerted an expanding impact upon the growth of the University. Through their gifts of time, enthusiasm, loyalty, and money, they expressed a genuine commitment to establish headquarters for the Alumni Association. There had been a rapid increase in the alumni rolls during the sixties and seventies, and alumni activities had expanded significantly. Through alumni backing East Carolina had won two U.S. Steel Foundation Alumni Giving Awards in 1980 and 1981. In these years the number of donors increased from 1,670 to almost 6,000, and contributions totaled half a million dollars. In 1980, through the loyal support of Luther Taylor and Marvin Slaughter, the Alumni Center became a reality when the University acquired the Hawes property. The house provided spacious accommodations for alumni offices and the Division of Institutional Advancement. It now serves as the home of the East Carolina Alumni Association.
The house has more than 3,600 square feet of usable space. The first floor features a foyer, a parlor, a conference room, and offices for Alumni Association staff. The second floor has been converted into offices.
The façade of this late Georgian-style brick house is well-proportioned, and classic portico’s and Corinthian columns emphasize the front door. The graceful fanlight and sidelights are features typical of the Georgian style. The front interior of the house is a setting for a large gilded pier mirror which hangs in a small lateral hall framed by an arch at the rear of the foyer. Its shelf is made of marble and located so the mirror is visible from the foyer and rooms on either side of the hall. (The mirror is about 350 years old.) Two black Italian marble fireplaces with classic mantels are located in the two rooms left of the foyer.
Because of the generous financial assistance of Mr. Taylor and Mr. Slaughter, the Alumni Association was able to purchase the house on December 10, 1979. It was most appropriate to name this beautiful property the Taylor-Slaughter Alumni Center.
Strickland Conference Room
Audrey Harris Strickland '88
BS, East Carolina University
Audrey Harris Strickland was a native of the Belvoir community in Pitt County and attended the local schools. After graduation from Belvoir-Falkland High School, she enrolled in Campbell University for additional work. She transferred to East Carolina University where she graduated with a specialty in business.
Mrs. Strickland was assistant director of Alumni Affairs for Special Events and Constituent Relations at East Carolina. She was president-elect of the ECU Club and a member of the East Carolina Alumni Association and the SEANC at the time of her death. She was also a member of Memorial Baptist Church and the Baptist Women’s Society.
Mrs. Strickland was married to Robert R. “Bobby” Strickland. They were the parents of Bobbie Jo “B.J.” Strickland, a 1990 graduate of D.H. Conley High School, who had completed her sophomore year at Meredith College and planned to attend North Carolina State University for her degree. Bobby Strickland, husband and father, was a native of Martin County but lived most of his life in Pitt County in the Eastern Pines community. He was a member of the Eastern Pines Men’s Club and Memorial Baptist Church choir.
The Strickland family had planned to fly out of Greenville for a vacation. However, shortly after take-off the plane encountered trouble and crashed, killing all three members of the family: Audrey, 46; Bobbie Jo, 20; and Bobby, 50. Funeral services were held at the Wilkerson Funeral Chapel with burial in Pinewood Memorial Park. The family was survived by Mrs. Strickland’s mother and brother, Jessie Eakes Harris and William B. Harris, and by Mr. Strickland’s brothers, Ralph, Jerry and Charles, and sisters Marcelene, Betty, and Peggy.
By official action of the board of trustees on December 11, 1992, the conference room in the Taylor-Slaughter Alumni Center was named the Audrey Harris Strickland Conference Room in her memory for untiring service and contributions to East Carolina.
Other Items of InterestCentennial Pirate Wall
Unveiled at Homecoming 2006, the Centennial Pirate wall stands in recognition of those members of the Pirate Nation that have joined the Alumni Association at our endowment level of $5,000. The wall is located in the Audrey Harris Strickland Conference Room and is visible to all visitors upon entering the Center.Painted Pirate Statue
During the 2007 Inaugural PirateFest, the East Carolina Alumni Association and the Greenville-Pitt County Chamber of Commerce, in conjunction with the ECU Office of Centennial Events, kicked-off an exciting new public arts project.
With the support of local businesses, citizens and ECU alumni, numerous “life-sized” Pirate statues donned the streets and business properties of Pitt County's cities and towns. This project celebrated our community’s pirate heritage through an impressive public art display of pirate statues for the benefit of East Carolina University and all of Greenville and Pitt County. The original design for the pirate was created by Artist Glenn Eure ‘75, an ECU alumnus who resides along North Carolina’s Outer Banks.
The statue that resides on the front lawn of the Taylor-Slaughter Alumni Center "Fortune of Heritage" was painted by Mike Litwin ’01.